trace

2
[ treys ]
/ treɪs /

noun

either of the two straps, ropes, or chains by which a carriage, wagon, or the like is drawn by a harnessed horse or other draft animal.
a piece in a machine, as a bar, transferring the movement of one part to another part, being hinged to each.

Idioms

    kick over the traces, to throw off restraint; become independent or defiant: He kicked over the traces and ran off to join the navy.

Origin of trace

2
1300–50; Middle English trais < Middle French, plural of trait strap for harness, action of drawing < Latin tractus a drawing, dragging; see tract1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for kick over the traces (1 of 2)

trace

1
/ (treɪs) /

noun

verb

Derived Forms

Word Origin for trace

C13: from French tracier, from Vulgar Latin tractiāre (unattested) to drag, from Latin tractus, from trahere to drag

British Dictionary definitions for kick over the traces (2 of 2)

trace

2
/ (treɪs) /

noun

either of the two side straps that connect a horse's harness to the swingletree
angling a length of nylon or, formerly, gut attaching a hook or fly to a line
kick over the traces to escape or defy control

Word Origin for trace

C14 trais, from Old French trait, ultimately from Latin trahere to drag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with kick over the traces

kick over the traces


Break loose from restraint, misbehave. For example, There's always one child who'll kick over the traces as soon as the bell rings. This metaphoric expression alludes to the straps attaching a horse to a vehicle, which the animal sometimes gets a leg over in order to kick more freely and thereby refuse to move forward. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.